Chapter 34 - Emmalyn
Emmalyn watched Kell warily, as he passed through the gates and headed for the castle. The change in his clothes seemed to affect his attitude as well. He was showing her a side of him she had never seen before, and she was realizing the lengths he would go through to keep her safe. No one was safe from his scrutiny.
They reached the castle and two of Kell’s men stepped forward to take a hold of their reigns. Emmalyn smiled at the closest man as she slipped from Beauty’s back and moved to her husband’s side. His hand brushed against hers for just a second before he headed for the castle doors. Rayme was ahead of them, and he nodded at the castle guards who eyed Kell and her with open hostility.
“Open the doors,” Rayme ordered with a hard glint to his eye and a wave of his hand. “They wish to see the King and Queen and I have granted them entrance.”
The guards immediately opened the doors and bowed formally. As Emmalyn stepped inside she glanced back, pleased to see that Kell’s brother Thane, along with Oryn, Behr and Torin had all followed them inside. Several more followed, but stopped inside the doors and took up a protective stance. It appeared intimidation was a tactic they all knew.
She followed Kell and Rayme down a wide hallway and grimaced at how dark the castle seemed. Lanterns hung from the ceiling, but the dark colour of the rock walls and the drab carpet running down the middle dispelled the light. It gave the castle a creepy feel, instead of the bright airy feel of her parents castle. She didn’t like it at all.
Without a word she followed the men down the hall and into a large room off to the left. Just like the hall, they adorned this room with dark coloured tapestries, dark furniture and low lighting. It was depressing, and Emmalyn wrinkled her nose in distaste.
“Is something not to your liking?” a female voice questioned snidely from the corner, drawing everyone’s attention to herself.
Emmalyn turned in the direction of the voice and found who she assumed was the King and Queen watching her. Both wore matching scowls, and both sat upon two ridiculous looking wooden thrones. She could tell it was their attempt at gaining control of the situation. Emmalyn straightened in an attempt to look taller and scowled right back at them.
“Your castle is extremely uninviting. It’s drab and hides the beauty that it contains,” Emmalyn declared. “A little colour wouldn’t hurt and maybe open the draperies to let the sunlight in. It would certainly warm the place some.”
The King and Queen looked surprised by her declaration, and she heard muffled snickering from behind her. She frowned, realizing she probably should have kept quiet.
“And who are you?” the King questioned with a raised brow.
“The lost Princess of Fairrest. She is the one the council sent me to retrieve,” Kell answered for her. Then he was angling his body slightly in front of hers in a show of protection. The royals bristled as they watched him move.
“Obviously she needs to be returned to the realm she was hiding in,” the Queen sneered. “She is not fit to be a part of our world. Her clothes, attitude, and looks all leave me with a retched taste. See to it at once,” she demanded.
“Now look here,” Emmalyn got out furiously, before Kell cut her off by completely blocking her with his massive body. She was tired of the derogatory comments and looks aimed her way.
“We are not here to discuss the Princess. We are here to get answers,” Kell declared. “Although if you wish to insult Emmalyn further, you will have both myself and my men to deal with. We have all become quite fond of the girl in our short time together. She is a treasure.”
Emmalyn swallowed the lump suddenly lodged in her throat as she leaned into Kell’s back. He was always quick to defend her, and it constantly surprised her. She still wasn’t used to it.
“Why is she here?” the King demanded. “She should be turned over to the councilman.”
“For what reason?” Kell growled.
“He needs to make sure she is the lost Princess we seek. There needs to be proof,” he furiously shouted.
“She is,” Kell grunted. “Her parents confirmed it.”
“As if they would recognize their own child. She was a baby when she was taken. She is a grown woman now,” the Queen huffed. “That is not proof.”
“The King and Queen’s personal guard went with her. He was by her side the entire time,” Kell seethed.
“That is not proof either,” the Queen began, but Kell cut her off.
“Enough,” he bellowed, and the flames in the lanterns on the walls rose before returning to normal a minute later. Both royals paled slightly as their expressions turned wary.
“You are here because you believe we had something to do with the attempts on her life,” the King announced.
“You know of the attempts?” Kell questioned, as he took a step towards them.
“Councilman Gelding graced us with his presence two days ago. He filled us in on all that went down when you crossed through the portal. We also know you were set on by assassins at the inn,” the King reluctantly admitted.
“So you are aware Warrick was one of her attackers? He crossed through the portal somehow and was intent on killing both the Princess and Mathias.”
“We are aware yes, but we were not the ones that sent him. He disappeared almost a month ago, and we haven’t seen him since. We sent men in search of him, but they returned empty handed. The man simply vanished, and it was quite unnerving,” the King explained.
“Believe what you want,” the Queen huffed. “Although we admit to wanting the princess out of our way, we didn’t do the things you are implying.”
“You want me out of the way?” Emmalyn repeated, as she moved to stand beside Kell once more.
“Of course we do,” the Queen sneered. “Our daughter would be the perfect fit to rule beside the Elemental Prince. They would make a most becoming pair. She is all that you are not, and your presence here is unwanted.”
Emmalyn took a step back at the vehemence of her words. It was clear the Queen believed them to be true. Then she squared her shoulders and pulled the small sword from her side. In a few short steps she was across the room and brandishing it against the Queens neck. Shouting and clashing swords rang out all around her, but she knew Kell and his men would have it handled.
“I am the perfect match for the Elemental Prince,” she growled. “Not your crazy ass daughter.” The Queen trembled beneath her knife, but thankfully held her tongue. “We have more in common than you will ever know. I have no qualms about fighting by his side and have fallen for both the man and the warrior. He has become everything to me, as I have become to him.”
Emmalyn would have said more, but the room had suddenly quieted. She was grabbed around the waist by strong arms and pulled away.
“That is enough my wee warrior,” Kell chuckled in her ear. “I will take over from here.”
Emmalyn huffed when he let her go, but turned and stood on her tiptoes so she could give him a quick kiss. He leaned down and met her halfway, slamming his lips down on hers. The kiss lasted only a second, but it let all in the room know how he felt about her. Emmalyn was beaming when he pulled away.
“Do your thing,” she grinned, as she stepped back to stand beside Behr.
“She’s a savage,” the Queen declared with horror clearly showing in her face. When Emmalyn looked towards the King she saw he held a similar expression.
“She is mine,” Kell bellowed. “Just as I am hers. You can forget your ridiculous notions of me wedding your daughter.”
The King and Queen were furious, but decided wisely to keep quiet. Where Kell appeared to be relaxed before, now he was seething with barely contained anger.
“Tell me who is trying to kill my Princess,” he demanded.
“We don’t know,” the King answered, shaking his head back and forth.
“Guess,” Kell pushed as he moved closer.
“Really,” the King stammered. “We have no idea. All I know is it isn’t us.”
“What about Seraphine? She clearly wants the throne. I wouldn’t put it past her to have sent Warrick to do her bidding,”
Both royals looked surprised, and Emmalyn leaned closer in order to hear how they would respond. They glanced at each other before the Queen answered.
“We haven’t seen her in quite some time,” she admitted. “We have been told she has taken a new lover and is spending her time with him.”
“Who?” Kell inquired, as Thane stepped up to his side.
“Is it a royal?” Thane pushed.
“We do not know,” the Queen admitted. “Although we believe it is a royal.”
“How can you not know who your own daughter is taking to her bed?” Kell growled. “Do you not care?”
The King bristled and stood from his throne. Even with him standing on the raised platform it sat on, Kell still towered over the man. The King paled as he looked up at Kell.
“She is not the ideal daughter,” the King huffed, surprising them all. “We had hoped that over the years she would grow softer and show the qualities a Princess should. We have showered her with love and support, but she snubs it. She is cruel, vindictive and untrustworthy. We are not at all close.”
“Yet you were pushing me into a marriage with her,” Kell fumed.
The King looked to the floor and his whole demeanour changed. He appeared to wilt in front of them. Emmalyn glanced at the Queen and noticed she as well appeared chastised.
“We were hoping you would make her change her ways. You never would have allowed her to continue on her destructive path. You would have insisted she act as a princess that ruled by your side would. We had hope she would be terrified of you,” the Queen added.
“So your harsh words and cold demeanour were an act?” Thane questioned with a sneer. “You have been god awful to everyone for years. We thought she inherited her attitude from you.”
“We apologize,” the King was quick to say. “You can’t imagine how we feel. We are her parents, it is our duty to see our daughter is brought up right. Her behaviour is a reflection of us.”
“Are you satisfied?” Rayme interrupted as he locked eyes with Kell. “I would never align myself with someone who would betray you. I also won’t betray the royals. They have been good to me, and it was not my place to speak ill of them.”
Kell studied the man for some time before he gave a sharp nod. When he said nothing in return Emmalyn placed her small hand on his arm.
“Please,” she whispered, knowing he would understand what she meant.
“I apologize,” Kell told Rayme, and she could hear the honesty in his voice. “But I love Emmalyn with all my heart, and I had to question them. You would have done the same in my position.”
Rayme nodded. “I would have.”
Kell then turned to the royals. “We will take our leave. But I want you to send someone to find me if Seraphine returns, or if you hear anything you think I should know.”
Both nodded and Kell seemed satisfied. He took her hand and guided her to the door.
“I lied earlier,” the Queen declared, just as they stepped into the hall. “She is stunning and a good match for you. I hope you two live a long and happy life together.”
Kell stopped momentarily, then continued on, refusing to look back. But Emmalyn twisted at the last minute and grinned at the royals, before Kell pulled her away. All in all she thought things had turned out pretty good.